adoption and illness/disability?

(9 Posts)
ceara Sat 09-Feb-13 09:37:55

DH and I are a long way off being ready to start formally looking into adoption as we are not through with fertility treatments yet and if we continue to be unsuccessful, will then need time to grieve the failures and also to get some more experience around children again (I'm still going through the "actively avoid kids and family events" thing that I think comes to most people dealing with infertility, and I've read that our LA expects recent childcare experience, so that will take time).

However, I'm interested to know if becoming parents through adoption might be a door that's open to us later on, if/when we felt ready and able.

My DH has a chronic pain condition (fibromyalgia) and although the LA's and agencies' blurb that I've read is careful to say that nobody is automatically ruled out because of illness or disability, they heavily emphasise the need to be fit and healthy to parent an adopted child, and I've seen references to diabetes and even asthma being "issues", so I'm very afraid that fibromyalgia will send every social worker running for the hills on first contact, as "chronic pain condition" just sounds so awful.

My DH was diagnosed about 15 years ago, so well used to living with his condition. He has been able to do demanding full time jobs throughout that time (works in education), takes no more than the average number of sick days, and it's not a degenerative or lifespan-curtailing condition. But I recognise how the label makes it look.

Is anyone aware of positive examples of people with chronic conditions or disabilities being approved to adopt? Or the reverse, of course.

I'm extra concerned because I'm the higher earner out of the two of us, so to pay the mortgage etc, would have to be the one to return to work after adoption leave, with DH becoming the stay-at-home parent. This is also what we'd do if we are lucky enough to have a child through IVF (though not doing so well with that so far!). For what it's worth, our GP and consultant had no issues with signing the "will they be suitable parents" part of the IVF consent forms, knowing of DH's condition, but I realise the system is much choosier about adoptive parents.

Thanks.

Lilka Sat 09-Feb-13 13:57:20

I've known people who have been approved (and adopted) who have disabilties - specifically Cystic Fibrosis and being permanenently in a wheelchair with no ability to use their legs.

The focus (in any good agency) should be on how the condition affects your husband, how it is managed, what he is and is not able to do, whether and how his condition will impact the children and what his future prognosis is. Not on generalisation about a condition, it should be specific to you

You may find some agencies are not so enthusistic, but there are definitely lots who are completely happy to assess couples such as you and DH and approve them. There is no national policy as to this, all agencies have different ideas and so a person who has no luck with agency A may be welcomed with open arms by agencies B and C

The adopters with disabilities that I know found the matching stage harder than the being approved stage I think, because they were in competition with the healthier couples/peoples, and many social workers when choosing between two sets of parents for a child, would choose the non-disabled set. However, they all did get matched and bring their children home in the end (and it didn't take forever either) smile I believe they were matched with children from the same LA as approved them

EverythingsBeachy Wed 06-Mar-13 18:29:45

That's really good to hear lilka, as I have a disability and always thought we would have an immediate no to adopting a child.

Lilka Wed 06-Mar-13 22:05:10

If you get a no Beachy then move on straight away to the next agency. Actually, call up several at once and go with the one that you like the most - they should be enthusiastic about what you have to offer smile

Some LA's are rubbish and discriminatory, but it's a misconception that all agencies are the same - they are actually really different

MrsBW Italy Wed 06-Mar-13 22:16:32

Completely agree with Lilka about agencies being different... Not on disability but on other areas. We found agencies very different... One turned us down after the initial visit... We are on prep group next week with another.

LocoParentis Wed 06-Mar-13 22:24:15

My DH found testicular cancer during the home study. He's now clear (phew) and although we are now on hold and have to wait a year to make sure we're over the trauma and the cancer hasn't returned we can pick up where we left off in the home study.
We are lucky we have a good agency

Good luck

Loco thinking of you and really hoping all will be well for you and DH.

sweetmelissa Fri 08-Mar-13 20:25:02

I was always told much depended upon life expectancy - insuring the best possible chance of being there for your future children until they reach adulthood.

When we took the adoption medicals (many years ago) it was discovered in the routine chest x ray that my 'perfectly healthy husband' had a chronic lung condition. Once discovered much then depended on how it affected him on a day to say basis and possible prognosis for the future - and from what you say your husband manages very well on a day to day basis. So I do hope all will be well with whatever adoption agency you may approach - though you will no doubt have to undergo a multitude of questions on unlikely scenarios. Also remember that recommendations will be made from the medically qualified person on the adoption panal (as well as your own GP) so it will be be not be 'ill informed SWs' making the decisions. But do remember agencies really do differ considerably in their approaches and criteria, so if the first one you approach does not seem so positive, do try another. I honestly don't believe agencies will be running for the hills though!

Good luck, whatever you decide. I so understand what you say about avoiding children and family things....and hope it is not too long before you are happily joining in with them, with a family of your own!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 08-Mar-13 20:32:48

Talk to agencies, be frank, about your situation, be prepared to have to go through lots of agencies (I think it was about seven who weren't interested in us eg because we are both white, weren't interested in a sibling group). Good luck if you decide to go down the adoption route!

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